Links and the marketing of Darren Farley

This video of Scouser Darren Farley running through his LFC impressions, filmed by a mate on a mobile phone, went up on YouTube on 10 October 2008…

And within just 10 days this has happened…

Today, searching Google, the man is all over the web; from fan sites and bloggers, to the Post & Echo websites, Sky Sports and Radio 5 (where an upcoming interview with him is one of the homepage promos)… Frankly, Darren Farley is inescapable.

The interesting thing is, his star was rising to ascendancy before the media really picked up on him. The Post & Echo sites posted a video interview with him last Friday but it had taken all week to track him down and then find an opportunity where he was free. It shows just how much our online users can influence the content newspapers serve up for their readers.
Thousands of people have already watched him on YouTube, commented on his performance and even sent VT responses to him; they didn’t need the media to point them at it.

I guess the Football Factor shouldn’t be ignored in the rise and rise of Darren Farley – LFC is, after all, one of the biggest clubs in the world with an international army of fans – but the Magic of Linking would seem to be the real key to his success.
His YouTube video has been linked to from fan blogs, fan forums, fan websites, by YouTubers who favourited it, sent it on via Facebook et al…
The majority of those linking to it credit where they found the clip too.

How often do you hear the phrase ‘the media built X up just to knock them down’? Now people can build their own icons (or individuals can build their own brands) without going near a corporate news outlet, whether newspaper, TV, radio or online. It’s free and it’s extremely easy.

People marketed the Darren Farley brand without him even having to ask them. He’s clear that he wants his impressions to become a career, and by posting his video he got the greatest recruitment agency in the world acting on his behalf; the Web 2.0 collective.
It would have cost a fortune to market himself; if he’d rang Radio 5 and offered his services I’m betting the phone would have gone down within 30 seconds, now he’s one of their ‘must listen’ interviews – thanks to the Internet community using links.

So, what does it mean for newspapers? For me, it underlines how imperative it is for journalists to use social media sites to spot trends and stories. Dipping into forums, using Twitter as a matter of course (not just when you’re covering an event) and following blogs should be viewed as essential. I think reporters need to view it in the same light as they do the on-the-hour phone calls to the emergency services.
There are a wealth of stories on the web, we just need to know how to find them. And how to let other people find them for us.

One thought on “Links and the marketing of Darren Farley

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